5 Ways Pinterest Success Comes From Great Writing

by Lisa Pluth on Apr 19, 2012

Pinterest is all about images, right?

Wrong.

Words play an integral part in gaining followers and being re-pinned. This article looks at using words effectively to get the most out of pins.

In Pinterest users build boards around interesting categories. Keywords play a prominent part in the structure of the site.

Each board has its own name and description. In addition, the user or others can further categorize each board into a standard Pinterest category.

Spend time thinking about how to organize boards both for users and the site’s internal search engine. Users of the site will use words to search for specific pins. Unlike Google, on Pinterest the search facility is fairly simple. This will undoubtedly change as the site grows, but for now long or complex search phrases do not produce results.

Posts also have descriptions and these too are important. Placing keywords in pin descriptions will make the pin searchable in the Pinterest search facility. Because Pinterest has a built-in share facility with both Twitter and Facebook using keywords gives posts greater exposure on these sites as well.

1. Using Keywords on Pinterest


Keywords are extremely important for categorizing pins in the Pinterest search engine. Words are used to categorize boards and posts. They are also how users search for pins. All sections should be filled out thoughtfully to secure the best sharing among users.

From a viewer’s perspective, keywords help them quickly search boards so they can find the most appealing pins. Users are also able to like or follow particular words or topics making the use of keywords extremely valuable.

Here are two examples of pins and keyword usage. The first uses the keywords Hotel and Thailand  in a fairly standard way.

The second, a pin about a new form of elliptical bicycle (www.elliptigo.com), initially did not have any keywords. The second pin is interesting because after the initial pin there were 5 re-pins and likes within a few minutes. However, this initial activity on the pin quickly died down because it lacked keywords essential to finding the pin in the search facility. After adding in the words elliptical trainer it started to be re-pinned again.

2. Be Funny on Pinterest

 

Funny gets repinned.

Never underestimate the power of laughter.

Pinterest is a unique social media site where a user can look at dozens of options at once. Users like the site because it is a breath of fresh air that fits easily into about 5 minutes.

Humor often separates successful pins from unsuccessful pins. For example, the humorous description on the Elliptigo trainer was more important for re-pinning than the image.

Here are screen shots of two other elliptical trainer pins with much better photos. Yet they didn’t re-pin as well as the Elliptigo pin. In this case the humorous description seems to be more important than the image. Many women can relate to saddle soreness.

The popularity of memes is another example of how humor can be used effectively on Pinterest. In a sample study of 500 popular pins more than ¼ were memes or infographics.

A sample of most popular pins has many memes

Memes are one of the best ways for designers to show off their work. In essence Pinterest memes are like handing out free personal promotional gifts. The platform can be used to increase the value and reputation of any designer or marketing professional.

3. A/B Testing on Pinterest

Because the site is growing so rapidly it is important to constantly use A/B testing to understand how and why pins are being shared and liked or not.

A/B testing is most commonly used to test conversion points and other design features on a standard website. Traffic is directed to the A or B design and this allows the designer to fine tune the nuances of the site. The same method can be used on Pinterest.

For example, here are two pins of travel sites that specialize in apartments and vacation homes.

In the Apartmentsapart.com example the description is fairly straightforward. In the Windowsonitaly.com example the description is chattier and it mentions that knowledgeable friends recommended the site. The two sites and pins are extremely similar, yet the later has experienced 7 re-pins while the first has had 2 in the same amount of time.

4. Comments

Comments are almost as important as pin descriptions.

Comments are the Social facilitators in the Pinterest community. Adding funny and insightful comments increases followers, shares and likes.

Looking at the popular posts above clearly shows that comments are important to popular pins. Comments also show an  interest in the lives of other people. In the social media world this is a very GOOD thing.

5. Length/complexity

This is one of the true enigmas in Pinterest. Lengthy and complex posts often do very well. This is partly due to Pinterest’s layout.

Longer posts consume more space on the screen and this seems to make them more popular. However, there is more to it than just that. Many of the longer posts tell an engaging story.

After flipping through pages and pages of smaller photographic pins a large story will cause a viewer to pause and click on it out of curiosity. Then they re-pin or like the post. This seems to be a form of etiquette in the community for long posts that are useful or sentimental.

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In summary, the popularity of Pinterest certainly resides in the site’s visual interface, but this isn’t the whole story. Use words effectively and watch your pins take off!

Image source: Shutterstock.com tech alphabet

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  • http://twitter.com/SAnnComte S. Ann Comte

    Love this post. I will definitely apply these tips to my pins. Thanks.

  • http://www.socialmediaillumination.co.uk Gemma L Thompson

    Thanks for this post Lisa, very insightful. It just occurred to me last night that I need to change the names of some of my boards to make them more ‘user friendly’, and to include keywords there too.
    So now I feel like I am on the right track!

  • http://twitter.com/namipatel Namita Patel

    Love the article Lisa! Very insightful. Will definitely incorporate your ideas in my pinning!

  • SavingStar

    Great tips Lisa. We’re just getting started with Pinterest now and will use this advice. -Josh 

  • http://www.facebook.com/NormFlowers Norm Flowers

    Excellent article and you might enjoy a few of my Quotes & Signs humor – some did really well :-) My Pinterest Score is (38) or was yesterday :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/NormFlowers Norm Flowers
  • http://tomatejoyeuse.blogspot.com Tomate Joyeuse

    Thank you Lisa. I really appreciate your article.I do not understand searches on Pinterest. For instance, I have a board which have only french articles about Pinterest. Anyway on this board I have put on the description some keywords Français or Francais (french) Pinterest, and I use again those same keywords as hashtags on the description of the Pin. But if we do some search we can find only the pin of my article which is in my board. http://pinterest.com/search/?q=pinteret+francais
    So my question is the following : what is really the use of the description of the Board, or Pin and hashtags, since searches on Pinterest do not work well ?

  • Lisa Pluth

    I know searching on Pinterest is somewhat obtuse and
    actually I think that this is designed into the site on purpose. The #1 threat
    to this site is that it will be used unkindly by marketing folks and destroy
    the viewer experience. It could also be that the site is going through growing
    pains- its recent popularity would swamp any site.

    More concretely this is what I think is going on with the
    hashtags on Pinterest: Pinterest search is dictated by established relevance-
    something like EdgeRank used over on Facebook. This means that the system
    doesn’t only take into account hashtags but also how many comments, shares, how
    it has been shared, by whom and possibly even when it has been shared. Keep in
    mind that Ben Silberman, one of the co-founders of Pinterest worked at Google
    in Design before leaving to start this site. Also to be noted, Pinterest’s meteoric
    rise has come after Google Panda. I may be giving the Pinterest people too much
    credit but the site’s emphasis on user experience combined with Silberman’s
    history leads me to believe that they have thought very deeply about search on
    the site and how to prevent it turning into a large collected billboard of
    boring advertisements that no one wants to look at. They even have a special
    section for turning in spam and inappropriate content. Undoubtedly the search
    facility will improve. Simple language hashtags like you are talking about should
    turn up all the appropriate content. However, the common user is finding what
    they are looking for and for Pinterest right now it’s probably good enough. However, I would keep using the tags etc. they will eventually fix this problem.

  • http://tomatejoyeuse.blogspot.com Tomate Joyeuse

     Hello Lisa,

    Thank you very much for you very detail answer. I really appreciate! I undersand better searches on Pinterest.

  • http://time-warner-cable-internet.weebly.com/ CWatson

    Great post. I learnt a lot from this post on how to be successful on Pinterest. Yes, creative writing is very important. Another thing that I learned from this post is being casual and a bit funny in terms of expressing your opinions in the content. This will help develop interest in the readers. Thanks for sharing.